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My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

My Town: How to bridge the summer learning loss gap

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (National Heritage Academies)—Every child will lose a portion of the academic growth they experienced this school year during the summer break; It’s called summer learning loss. The problem is becoming so apparent the National Summer Learning Association has designated Friday, June 20, Summer Learning Day.

“It is so easy for students to slip into a summertime routine that doesn’t involve reading, writing, or using their math skills,” said Ridge Park Charter Academy Principal Emory Wyckoff. “We are challenging our students to set aside time each day to devote to a book or write about a summer experience they have enjoyed. Summer should be fun and educational.”

Wyckoff has some tips to help parents curb the summer slide:

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Annual Juneteenth Celebration kicks off in Holland today

HOLLAND, Michigan (WZZM) -- The 14th Annual Juneteenth Celebration kicked off in Holland Thursday. The three-day event commemorates the ending of slavery in the United States.

Juneteenth, also known as the African-American Emancipation Day, is nationally observed on June 19th. It was on that date in 1865 that slaves in Texas learned that President Lincoln had signed the Emancipation Proclamation two years prior.

Union soldiers landed in Galveston with news that the war had ended and that the enslaved were free. Since then, festivals are held, nationally, each year to celebrate freedom and emphasize education and achievement.

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

My Town: Job outlook for the area largely positive

KENT COUNTY, Mich.—Despite the harsh winter, businesses in West Michigan added 9,500 jobs during the first quarter of 2014.

That’s according to a newly released report by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research. Analysts found employment in West Michigan’s six metropolitan areas jumped 1.1 percent.    The biggest increases were reported in manufacturing and private service sectors.   

In the Grand Rapids-Wyoming area, employers added 7,200 jobs in the first quarter, driving down the area’s unemployment rate to 5.8 percent.   Analysts say there was solid growth across all sectors, and they expect the job market to remain strong in the coming months.

Holland leaders remind residents of fireworks rules

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Independence Day is fast approaching, and it's the next opportunity for people to light off fireworks legally in Michigan.

Fireworks outside legal time-frames have been a problem in some Holland neighborhoods since Memorial Day, though. City leaders say fireworks are especially dangerous in the Historic District.

Kathryn Schoon-Tanis says fireworks are taking over his daughter's sleep schedule.

"It's scary. It's a loud noise, so she wakes up crying and afraid."

Every night lately, from dusk to midnight, Mike Kopchick says feels like he's at a celebration.

"If we're sitting and watching TV, I can look out the window and see the fireworks in the air, even if they're a few blocks away...They're not little guys."

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Detectives: Holland house fire intentionally set

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Investigators say a fire that heavily damaged a Holland home was intentionally set; now the Holland Department of Public Safety is taking over the investigation.

Firefighters were called to the home on W. 14th Street at Harrison Avenue just after 11 p.m. Sunday. The landlord told WZZM 13 he was working on the vacant home earlier in the day because a family was supposed to move in next month. He considered the fire suspicious because the electric and gas utilities were shut off at the time. The flames caused an estimated $65,000 in damage.

When crews were still battling that fire, they were called over to a home at 143 W. 11th Street between Pine and Maple avenues at 12:40 a.m. The resident was not home, but her next-door neighbor saw the flames.

Holland police: Girl, 9, struck in head by arrow

HOLLAND, Mich. (AP) - West Michigan authorities say a 9-year-old girl was wounded when a friend accidentally shot her in the head with an arrow.

Police in Holland say that the accident happened about noon Tuesday. They say that two 9-year-olds, a boy and a girl, were playing with a bow and arrow, and the boy fired into the air.

Police say the arrow hit the girl in the head. Police say the arrow struck a glancing blow and say the injured girl was taken to Holland Hospital for stitches and other treatment.

The injury isn't believed to be serious.

Holland city leaders consider new restrictions on rentals

HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- Holland city leaders are considering new restrictions on rental properties, because of concerns about their impact on neighborhood quality.

Tuesday, the Neighborhood Improvement Committee discussed possibly limiting the number of rental properties in any given neighborhood.

The number of rental properties in the city has significantly grown over the past few years, with some blocks that are nearly half rentals.

City leaders say research shows that homeowners tend to be more engaged in their neighborhoods.

The goal is to maintain vibrant neighborhoods, without adding too many rules, according to Phil Meyer, the Director of Holland Neighborhood and Community Services.